Board of Directors & Officers

Board Chair, CEO and Treasurer

Lisa Salamat founded the WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society in 2007, after experiencing both the wild and captive environments our wildcats inhabit and saw a need for a legal advocacy group to protect and defend all native and nonnative wildcats. Ms. Salamat is a licensed attorney in Washington, DC, is a member of the DC Bar Animal Law Committee, and worked as a volunteer at the National Zoological Park Cheetah Conservation Station (2004-2008). Ms. Salamat holds a B.A. in English, a M.A. in Humanities/Philosophy, and a Juris Doctorate. Her role with WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society is diverse, dynamic and challenging. “I know change whether in the legal system or culturally is a slow process, however, when young adults and children tell me how shocked they are to learn that people are able to have a tiger or lion as a pet and that this needs to change, I am confident that through our legal and education programs and working with other NGOs and government agencies, we will see the end of wildcats held in all captive environments.”

Board Director & Secretary

Elizabeth Pugh board director and secretary since 2008, has enjoyed a 36 year distinguished career in government service. For the past 16 years, she has served as General Counsel of the Library of Congress. She is actively involved in the development of our educational programs and fundraising initiatives. Ms. Pugh holds a B.A in Sociology, a M.A. in Higher Education Administration, a Juris Doctorate and a Human Letters Honorary Doctorate. She is a volunteer at the National Zoological Park’s Children’s Farm. Upon her return from a trip to South Africa, Ms. Pugh told us “I’m so glad WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society exists. We need to continue to protect these amazing animals. I’m so glad I am apart of this organization.”
Interview with Ms. Pugh in celebration of Women’s History Month: Blogs Library of Congress

Board Director & Vice President

Mary LaRiccia board director and vice president since 2008, has enjoyed a 30 year career as a senior marketing and advertising executive. Ms. LaRiccia plays an integral role in the development of our marketing and fundraising initiatives. She holds a B.A. in Marketing and is an active advocate for wildlife and domestic animals. Ms. LaRiccia fosters neglected and abused dogs and cats and has miraculously nursed all under her care back to life and placed in forever homes.¬†“I am so happy to be involved with the work of WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society. The information we provide on our website and in the Journal is a trusted source of truth in a sea of misinformation. I am especially interested in our initiative to prohibit canned hunting of big cats. The impact of this work could do so much to reduce exploitation and relieve suffering right here in the U.S.”

Environmental & Wildcat Conservation, Chief Consultant

Philip J. Nyhus, Associate Professor, Environmental Studies Program at Colby College, has served as our wildcat biology chief consultant since 2008. Dr. Nyhus is one of the distinguished editors of Tigers of the World: The Biology, Politics, and Conservation of Panthera tigris (2nd edition) and a contributing author to our Journal of the WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society. He has over twenty years of extensive experience working in Asia, including China and Indonesia on tiger conservation, human-wildlife conflict, the human dimension of large mammal conservation, GIS, interdisciplinary approaches to wildlife risk assessment, and environmental policy. In November 2010, Dr. Nyhus represented WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society at the The International Tiger Conservation Forum (Tiger Summit), hosted by the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, in St. Petersburg. During our tenure with the International Tiger Coalition, Dr. Nyhus served as our advisor. Dr. Nyhus and Ms. Salamat met in Oxford during the Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids Conference in 2007.


Our programs and services are made possible by the generous support of our contributors and volunteers. Help us to ensure a wild future for all wildcats by making a one-time gift or Join Our Pride!

Register with Us